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Resurfaced photo depicts act of inculturation

A picture circulating on social media depicting a priest riding an elephant shackled in chains has caused public outcry.

Many including animal activists have charged that the act is a form of animal cruelty.

The priest said to be Rev Fr Tony Hapuarachchi, is seen carrying a blessed sacrament.

When The Sunday Morning contacted the Bishop’s House, Secretary to the Bishop of Avissawella,  Rev. Fr. Ayal Fernando said the incident took place 3 years ago and that it was an act of inculturation.

Fr Hapuarachchi is the former Parish Priest of the St. Francis Xavier Church – Gurugalla, Avissawella.

When asked if churches in the island had any regulation over using elephants for religious ceremonies, Fr. Fernando said there were no regulations as such and that a similar ceremony had taken place in Seeduwa around the same year.